Chat log: https://futuretextlab.info/2022/01/31/chat-31-jan-2022/
Frode Hegland : Hello, Peter. Good morning. I rushed home, I’m just making coffee now. So, yes, it’s all about coffee. How are you doing? Very good. Excellent. I saw Mark a little earlier today, I’m not sure who else is coming today. Yeah. What kind of coffee do you drink, Peter?
Peter Wasilko: I usually drink decaf. Now that’s the intelligent thing to do.But sometimes I’ll slip a little cocoa powder in to give it a little bit of a chocolate tinge.
Frode Hegland : A little bit of a mocha. Yeah, that’s nice. Just blowing a scope top one now. And I’m building a set of.
Peter Wasilko: User interface components in EMBA for all of our future projects. And first thing you want to say more. Well, so far, I’m having single selection and multiple selection. Accordions tab panels were the tabs can go on the left, the right, top or bottom. Overlays where you can have more than one layer simultaneously position at the same spot. So assuming that they have transparency, they all stack up and you’ll be able to see more than one at once. So that be sort of like the equivalent of a geographic information system where you could add layers and layers out. Yeah.
Frode Hegland : Yeah, we should look into this kind of stuff now that we’re going in more and more into VR. But one thing I have to tell you is the other day I had incredible motion sickness in VR. Huh. So it is about learning what to do. It was downloaded a game, a multiplayer thing. I thought, you know, some of us could get together and but I was dumb enough to not do what they call natural motion, basically walking around rather than jump, jump, jump. And that made me really nauseous after a while. But sitting down in a room and just looking around, never. Well, that’s good to know. Very different situations, I remember a Brandel talking about something like this a while ago, so it was kind of interesting to experience it first hand or first had.
Peter Wasilko: I’m betting there’ll be less of a problem with the much higher screen resolution than Apple will have on its device when it comes out.
Frode Hegland : I don’t think so, because it doesn’t feel, you know, I don’t really feel the resolution or the quality of the graphics in this, but it was the motion that, you know, I was walking around, but my body wasn’t following me. It was horrendous. Anyway, let me just go to my desk.
Peter Wasilko: I’m sorry about this. Oh, no problem. Oh, so you mean your avatar in the virtual world wasn’t tracking at the same page that your physical body was moving? Oh, I wasn’t moving. I was sitting down physically. In real life. Uh-huh. And that was the problem because my avatar was moving. Ah, OK, I think I see what you mean now. So then if you’ve been walking around physically in the room while your avatar was moving, that wouldn’t do it, but because you weren’t physically moving and your avatar was moving,
Brandel Zachernuk : That it OK? Well, I don’t think
Frode Hegland : That will be much of a problem in the hour, but it was interesting to experience. That’s for sure.
Peter Wasilko: I got that in one of the flat virtual worlds, and my avatar was ice skating and the picture in my window was a first person view of the ice skating rink spinning around while doing the skating maneuvers, and that just threw me for a loop.
Frode Hegland : Yeah, I mean, I know a lot of people have problems with just first person shooters, and that, I think is largely frame rate like you suggested, but it’s very interesting when your entire field of vision is. It’s taken up. Who have we got here, I thought Alan couldn’t join us today.
Peter Wasilko: Hi, Alan. Hey. Hey, Peter. Yeah, I mean to drop off early. But I did get some meetings canceled today, which was very nice, so I figured I’d jump in.
Frode Hegland : So I just have to do my coffee running late. It looks amazing. People exist for coffee, but I’m not sure how. So it’s been an interesting weekend and day here, let me just put this down to report to you guys. So the the weekend was a bit like weekend not long ago where I was really, let’s put it honestly depressed. About this stuff. And, you know, that’s OK, that’s something that happens, but it was based on. But primarily what’s relevant to this, I couldn’t communicate, and I’m talking mostly about visual matters, not just the entire field. The benefit or even what it was. I felt really stuck, and then I was stupid enough to give a document I was trying to write to Mark Anderson and I know he can watch the recording, but sending it to Mark, he’s very detail oriented, so he is absolutely the worst for this. Again, I know he can watch the recording and it said would love whoever and. Good timing. Just getting to a really quick conclusion here. Kind of depressed this weekend. Didn’t know how to communicate the benefit of visual matter or even what it is. And then this, you know, how to kind of an argument with Marc Andreessen is looking at a different point of view. Basically trashing my presentation is a close friend.
Frode Hegland : He’s allowed to do that. But then today I went into town, went to my club where you all have to come, when you’re in London, by the way, it’s beautiful. It’s called the Groucho Club. And then I had this thought that what I’m talking about is probably best communicated to outsiders as smart documents. And coming from that perspective, I’m not. I’ll send you something later. Let’s not waste our together time for it, but saying in the beginning, you know, smart documents, we get these benefits. By the way, it’s not a new document formats. What we already have is just writing stuff at the back. So I talk about structural benefits, which gives views and so on citation benefits, which gives a citation benefit in the document and how you can see it connected. And then there’s that section on B.R. saying you can take things into a VR space and have these semantic meaning bits of the document extracted and have it saved in a new document. New appendix when you go. So just the term smart documents, I think, may be a bit useful. What do you guys think, Brendan? A 10 second summary of my frustration. How to communicate visual matter. Maybe I call them smart documents. And there we are.
Mark Andreson: Wow, what a some.
Peter Wasilko: A quick thought on, oh, go ahead. Hey, good to see you.
Mark Andreson: You too. No, please carry on.
Peter Wasilko: Well, I’ll just take a quick thought on it because I I literally just saw this on Twitter. Someone talking about the old thing of like, Hey, JPEGs are great. I mean, slugs are great. They’re they’re scalable. They’re obviously preferred JPEGs Rastas old school. But there are some ways where Rastas good. And I just thought, as like PDF PDF are the raster images of documents. And what we’ve been talking about is like, maybe the SVG, like maybe what’s missing is that there isn’t an SVG equivalent to document. I mean, it’s a very broad, loose, troublesome metaphor. So I’m not like, you know, holding onto it, but there’s something about that where it’s like, Oh, I can do all this in SVG. But then at the end of the day, there are a lot of times where you could take an SVG image and convert it to a flat raster image, because that’s more portable. And and so they both have value, but they do different things and kind of what we’re talking about, it feels like it’s it’s de rasterization and trying to turn into vectors of thought inside the PDF.
Frode Hegland : Yeah, that’s that’s a thing, by the way. Brandel, can you hold your hand up, please? Like physically just like this? Slap, you should have told us about this really cool consciousness and VR thing. I saw it randomly on Twitter that it was happening, I would have loved to be there, but I couldn’t plan for it, so slap slap for not having put it in our community thing.
Mark Andreson: Oh, the
Brandel Zachernuk : Twitter space conversation.
Frode Hegland : Yeah, it looked really, really cool. I tried to catch up with it, but I would have been lovely to be there live so.
Mark Andreson: Oh, I didn’t know
Brandel Zachernuk : About it, it wasn’t planned, it was it was just something I dropped in and it was OK. The main person involved has a tendency to be pulled into some pretty weird philosophical directions. And he was kind of grandstanding and didn’t really want to have anything other than an opportunity to kind of demonstrate prowess and various philosophical kind of domains, as well as being supported, by the way, for emphasis. Yeah. Yeah, yeah, no. I didn’t say who it was, but yeah, so it’s interesting. And there were a number of people who are expert practitioners in the field, but I’ll do it again if it happens. But it was, it was. It was weird. So don’t worry too much.
Frode Hegland : Ok, that’s cool. Just thought I’d do that for fun, I say. Peter has this handout.
Peter Wasilko: Yeah, I was just thinking that I usually use the phrase enhanced as opposed to smart. Just because smart can get conflated with eye stuff and people might think there’s some sort of A.I. working in the background just wanted to share that idea.
Frode Hegland : Yeah. I mean, I like to use that, I try to use the term augmented
Peter Wasilko: Because that’s very good too.
Frode Hegland : It also goes into, yeah, I don’t know. Ok, guys, what do you think that document has visual matter? What should we call it? An augmented document or a smart document? Augmented hand up
Peter Wasilko: Take augmented over smart. I need to.
Frode Hegland : Yeah, you guys are terrible. I’m sorry.
Mark Andreson: No, I’m sorry. There’s nothing wrong with smart. It’s just it’s been. You know, the trouble is, once the marketeers get their hands on it, any good term gets rid of sort of decent meaning. And so it would work. But I suspect it carries a lot of wrong connotations now or just reeks of puffery, which again, is not what we’re about.
Brandel Zachernuk : Yeah, well, so to that end, I would say one thing that Apple has done has drawn a distinction between between smart and other things, and that smart means something that a computer has decided to do for you that has sort of a composite behavior or action. So smart filters, smart folders and they’re made for your convenience, but not necessarily. But it’s kind of more to do with preemptive actions taken on behalf of your your expected interest. And so to that end, I do think the annotation sorry, that augmentation is is probably a better kind of line of kind of reminder, the better the better handle in terms of the other places that people have called it.
Frode Hegland : Ok, well, I’m very glad to hear this because Mark, I was ragging on you the whole time until you came in here to say how difficult you’ve been and how useful it has been. So I’m glad to hear this because that means, first of all, that, you know, my company is called the augmented text company. And by referring to this document as two documents, it refers to in the same way that VR is in its own space, air is on top of something. Visual mirror is on top of something. So I’m perfectly happy, so with your approval, we’ll call it that, but then I have a big question for the community. And that is today I’m going to publish the first issue of the journal. There won’t be that much in it. Primarily the Barbara Tversky interview human transcribed, plus all our conversations and rough transcription. But what I was wondering is, what do you guys think now that we’re inviting more people to contribute to the book? Should we instead only have them contribute to the journal? So, you know, one article here, two articles there, and then at the end of the year, the book Volume three becomes all the articles from that year. So it’s like a bound edition, what do you think? Otherwise, I think we might be stretching ourself thin or diluting ourselves.
Peter Wasilko: Great to acknowledge where we might be stretching ourselves, then that is very important. I think it’s a great model that one feeds the other. As long as it doesn’t create more stress because rather than, I know, it must have been incredibly stressful for you to get content for your book, right? Over and over again, is that going to be less stressed if it’s in a journal for
Frode Hegland : The first one was stressful, but as it should be, it was a book. The second one was less so because suddenly it’s a series and the second one I did an author and expert at PDF. I didn’t use InDesign. Because, you know, the knee just wasn’t there, right? So for this one, Mark and I are working together on the production, so it’ll basically be somebody that we like, gives us an article in word or preferably author. Bang it in there. Make sure the citations and stuff is correct. And we’re done when the book is to be published in December, which is copy and paste, because of course, it’ll have visual matters, so that means anything behind the scenes will come with it. Mark?
Mark Andreson: Yeah, I was just going to say that I’m sort of I’m whilst this was going on one of the things I sort of did well, actually, things were Peter. So running it to ground because I was thinking, we keep talking about journals in the spirit of, you know, Doug’s unless I thought I’ve never actually seen any journal data. And Peter Carney, pointed me to a link I put in the in the sidebar from, I think, to computer history. I mean, it’s interesting because when you look at it, it’s obviously plain text because it goes back a ways and in a way, it’s actually almost like a sort of centralized file store. But you, I can still see in it the sort of the bones of what we’re doing. So the the the journal to me is is is the central sort of skeleton of onto which we will attach anything of note, and it might be as as the woolly, as you know, the source recordings of these talks, you know, which we’ve agreed, you know, not everyone is going to watch from end to end, but may be useful for running down points. And then there’ll be the more sort of high profile things like the guest speakers or articles that people have written either ourselves or others to put into the journal. So I think that hangs together quite well. But as I say, it was interesting after a while of looking finally actually seeing what people were putting into the journal back in in last days.
Frode Hegland : Yeah, thanks for that, Mark, I mean, this journal, I am potentially thinking about it as an academic journal that doesn’t have credentials yet that we’re making anyway. Ok, good. We’ll do that. So that means we’ll keep inviting people to the monthly meetings. Suggest people contribute to the journal, which will be the book, so we don’t need to waste more time on that here. Of course, if you have any issues to discuss. You’re very welcome. And the other thing is spoke the Mozilla construction environment thing to make VR environment spoke is really cool. I haven’t actually played in it yet, but there’s a lot of interesting stuff that can be done. Brandel is that one of the environments you are in when you make things?
Brandel Zachernuk : No, I haven’t used anything beyond the Jazz Library to construct those things. I tended to shy away from anything more abstracted and high level than those because I. For the most part, haven’t seen the benefit that they confer to somebody who is concerned with problems at the level that I am. So there are other things like A-frame, which has modules and components, but it didn’t never seem to help in the way that I felt like I needed help. So I haven’t used hubs or spoke to create anything yet, and I would be very, very eager to find out what kinds of benefits flow from using it. And yeah, so I don’t object to people using it had any bad experiences or nooses. I just haven’t.
Frode Hegland : Yeah, I had a question of can you take virtual desktop screens on there, if you could, then it could be powerful for a kind of VR version one or level one. Oh, that’s a question, guys. You know, self-driving cars have different levels of self-driving. I guess it would be interesting if we had the same for VR like VR level one is go in and play with a tennis ball. You know, and then you have VR level five where you are a whale. Or at one with the information flow. I don’t know. Any thoughts on that?
Mark Andreson: Sorry. I now have an image of being rear ended by a VR two level driver, you know?
Brandel Zachernuk : Yeah, I think that would be an interesting sort of framing for a taxonomy of virtual experiences and things. I mean, it relies on the virtual reality itself lies on a broader continuum of of transhumanism. And that’s ultimately something that I’m rooting for wear because being a whale at some in some sense means having the visual appearance of stuff. But the way that whale’s eyes are pitched in, they’re into pupillary distance is vastly different to ours. But also the sensory information that we get across the surface of our bodies is incomprehensibly and an almost incomparably different. So so that that Level five sort of cited does flow into, well, if that’s level five, if that’s the final thing, surely that’s not the last of being a whale. It’s been my dream to make babies into seven point seven. Ever since I was a teenager, I just think that they’d be better at it than airline pilots. You know, there would be airline pilots, but they’d also be airplanes. And so, yeah, I think.
Frode Hegland : Adding to the chat.
Mark Andreson: Just because it’s a while some people been by. So I’ve now been. So I now have one of these things, OK, so it’s actually been really interesting sort of getting into it now we’re actually having an interesting conversation again with Dave Miller this morning. Sorry, different chat. But one of the things it took me a while to get to because I was I was trying to. I was trying to get the sort of focus thing right? And then I and the penny didn’t drop until I was watching an optician describing, These are Fresnel lenses. Oh, OK, so they have a really, really small focal point. And so one of the things that’s interesting that nowhere when you start does it tell you, is that move your head, not your eyes. Because it’s quite natural if it’s something’s over there, I won’t necessarily move my head just to see it because I have eyes that do that for me, whereas actually in the current, you know, I know it’s only a temporary stage of the text. It is at the moment, but actually it can’t do that and it would rather your eyes state, you know, so you get it set up as best you can. So that was actually quite an interesting revelation. And if I sort of stuck within that, then generally things seemed a lot better. I think if I wanted to do any real text work in the environment more than just reading your menu, I think I’d probably end up needing to put some lenses in because of not not because of emotion, but just just just eyestrain and reading fuzzy text. And I just want to I just want the rider. I’m not saying that as a negative. That’s just an experiential marker that I’m sort of from from my experiments thus far.
Frode Hegland : I did get the lenses. They don’t actually help that much, right? Hey, early days, early days, guys.
Mark Andreson: Yeah, exactly. And if we don’t try, we don’t find out. I mean. And so in a sense, that’s one of the useful things that that’s one of the sort of these sort of things I think that are useful in the journal Science because it’s exactly the sort of tangential stuff we don’t write down on the ground. Well, I think it’s going to get better.
Frode Hegland : I say Brandel has his hand up, but can I ask you, Mark, to write some journal entries on this? Then it will be a very.
Mark Andreson: Yeah, sure. Sure. Sure.
Frode Hegland : Yeah. It would be really brilliant. Yeah. Sorry, Brandel, it’s good.
Brandel Zachernuk : It’s good to hear the recognition and also the correct kind of enunciation of where some of these sort of sources of discomfort come from. Mark Another aspect of it is, as you mentioned, particularly working with text. There’s a tendency to want to put things closer than it then is comfortable to focus on in a mere distance. So we talked a little bit about the concept of Virgin’s accommodation conflict, where we tend to have this. We know in all other walks of life in the real world. When we look at something this distance, we simultaneously converge our eyes to it and focus to the specific distance. The fact that that all devices hitherto and and expected to ship in the foreseeable future have a fixed focal distance. Not only does it mean that there’s a conflict there, but it also means that it has to be at a distance. And so people pick a specific distance and then anything close to them that is causing. Chronic eye strain. And so, you know, if you’re actually that’s one of the reasons why things like that are bad is because a lot of the time we’ve worked with an interactive with text that is closer than arm’s length. And that’s about as close as most things are. Some of the focal lengths infinity. Some of them are a couple of meters, but nothing is really closer than that. So that means that you end up being incredible chronic eye strain territory whenever it’s at this distance and and it becomes essentially illegible closer than this, which is unfortunate for people who like reading in the way that normal humans do. So, you know, I’ll readily admit these are issues, but you know, there are due to a couple of things. One is the technology, but two is the and so verifiable other sort of Lensink systems will be able to improve that, but also the the decisions, the value of judgments that purveyors of virtual reality systems have thus far made in terms of what it is important to do with the system. So if you were to have an arm’s length PDF system, that’s conceivable, it’s just that nobody’s built it because they have this framing of what they think VR is for at this point.
Mark Andreson: So yeah, thanks. And I can imagine, you know, marketing getting all bent out of shape. If you said, I don’t want to put a sticker on the front, so everything may look blurry to start with, you know, it’s a really difficult thing because, you know, if you if you tell people what they need to know, they may choose not to come through the door. So it is it is a difficult thing. And the other thing I just sort of pick up to bring out speed is that it was interesting that both Dave and myself, the thing that it’s a bit like the cat playing with the box, the expensive cat toy came in. The thing that we really enjoyed was the sort of boundary wall in Oculus and being able to sort of punch through the wall. The classic thing is, I put the headset on and I think I right, where are the controllers have to look outside through the wall to see where I put them down. But that’s lovely, because that actually is a nice foreshadowing in a way of augmented space, which I actually sort of find as interesting, if not more interesting than a fully virtualized environment.
Frode Hegland : Mark, you know that this is only about a week old that feature, right? No, I didn’t. Right, right. Or that you would draw on the floor, adopt it. Then when you went towards the wall in whatever environment, suddenly like the holodeck, right? These lines would appear, which was really spooky and very impressive. But then now to be able to pick out like, yeah, it’s very impressive.
Mark Andreson: But because he literally it’s I love the fact that you put your hand through the wall. There’s a little circle. It is very holodeck. I mean, it’s it’s odd, but it shouldn’t be that way. But I got more excited by that than the thing I was supposed to be looking at. You know, a lot of that,
Brandel Zachernuk : A lot of the sort of the presentation of those speeches was was originated in HTC Vive, who did a lot of sort of essentially basic research into what could be or could be from maybe twenty twelve to twenty 16 and 17. And so, yeah, so part of the sort of appeal of those is this is not merely that it’s sort of a perverse desire to enjoy the thing that is important, but also that you’re seeing kind of the product of multiple organizations having spent multiple years of pretty sort of blue sky investigation into what’s going to be most effective. And actually, if you look at the HTC Vive on boarding from around that time, I haven’t done it in a while, but it’s it’s gorgeous. And in terms of the way that they express sort of the capabilities and functions of it, it’s it’s just like a sublime experience.
Frode Hegland : So Brendan and Peter seem quite bored with this discussion.
Alan Laidlaw : I was actually going to ask the question that the HTC onboarding piece is really interesting. Are there any other, I guess, like artifacts or examples that anyone in this VR realm has seen that is worth looking into besides your work Brandel, which is awesome.
Frode Hegland : I mean, OK, I’ll answer it then. What I’ve seen so far is really, really gosh darn awful. And I think that’s great for us because we’re kind of pioneers or whatever, but I can’t imagine, you know, putting in the headset. Now, when you put on the headset, you’re in an environment immediately. That’s kind of a desk display of options in front of you. It’s actually very pleasant. So the first experience of just putting it was like, Whoa, this boom looks really nice. That’s brilliant. But then you have this old fashioned thing of buttons and weirdness to find where you’re going next. That’s a bit odd. And then you have when if you do a screen share from your laptop, computer or whatever into VR, the different pieces of software have different pieces of sharing software. So if you choose one, then you have to shut down. Before you do another one, you have to do restart all of that stuff. But as we saw with Apple coming up with universal control, you know you take the cursor over to your between your devices, that kind of stuff. There is a lot of technologies that are happening to relieve these issues. I think so that they’re going in and out of these spaces will be, for the consumer, much more easy to do. But we still have the concern that our work artifacts, how will they follow us? You know, obviously, I think visual matter is one way, but certainly not the only. You know, for large volumes of data, you need something entirely different, but you need to be able to interactively render it. And that’s why I thought spoke was so interesting because it’s so easy. Even someone like me can use it. But of course, I can’t build a kind of interactivity that Brandel can in a proper environment. Sorry, that didn’t answer your question at all. But anyway, there you go.
Peter Wasilko: Mark, my two cents on some of that topic. Totally agree with that. It’s interesting how rich and immediately pleasurable the very first onboarding experience is and you put on the Oculus versus the other extreme, which is how do I find anything now I’m having to scroll and it becomes immediately, you know, very awkward. And would it be wild? Is the HD five approach getting a chance to extend to the step beyond the next step after onboarding? Right? And having that same feeling. But like you see this, maybe the spikes move up because it’s very close to a zone, but now they can provide information and you can sort of like Superman Fortress of Solitude say, like, you know, I’m interested in this thing and it’s all around you. Rather than going to, you know, defaulting to a browser like, I feel like there’s a whole lot of. A whole lot of opportunity in that very next step, you know, perhaps even before getting enmeshed in a service or app or game. But how how can you make that feel, that game or that app or whatever as natural is just putting the glasses on anyway?
Mark Andreson: I’ll go quickly because I see it as a handout. I was just I haven’t seen any other importing stuff, but I did find myself thinking that in some ways I’d actually quite like to get on board into the past through. As a step in, so rather than stepping off, rather than so stepping through a portal into a whole new world, it’s how it is having the sort of the mix. It’s the transition to say, OK, I am now moving. I’m I’m I suppose it’s partly the problem that you’re making an environmental transition. And I haven’t really thought that through, but it just occurred to me that that I very much got the sense when I when I when I sort of turn the past through on, I thought, Okay, right, I know, I sort of know where I am now. I am looking at the real world, but I’m looking through it virtually. And then when I flick out of that now, I’m fully sort of fully through the gate. Peter.
Peter Wasilko: Well, I noticed in some theme parks they’ll actually do like a stage transition between two things like when you move from adventure land into frontier land, you get slight variations so you don’t go from one architectural style to a completely different architectural style. You just sort of morph between the two by introducing a few elements at first and then more elements of the second theme as you reduce the number of elements of the first theme so that can make for smoother transitions, at least in physical theme park space. And I wonder if we do something similar in virtual space.
Alan Laidlaw : So that’s really neat that. I have an amateur love for architecture, and that sounds a lot like some of the patterns in Christopher Alexander around, like a gradient of intimacy as you enter into the home. You don’t want the bedroom to be right there as you walk in from the outside. And that transition is really impactful, and it’s not something that is. Well, at least publicly seen too much in some of the tools we use, especially in online work environments. I often knock teams in Zoom for that because you’re not really like put into a working environment. It’s just like a loading screen and that loading screen doesn’t afford any prompts of what you’re going to do. So interesting points there, Peter.
Frode Hegland : It also doesn’t allow you to put up a note saying the host is running late. I find that really weird. It’s like you guys, when we’ve been travelling, they have to, you know, text mark, mark and you hold the fort. I can’t get to Wi-Fi. Why can’t I just leave that in the Zoom room? It’s the same room every time saying, you know, transitions. But I think one thing that may be worthwhile for us to talk about a little bit more detail, maybe, and I know Adam is not here, of course, but the dream of working with text and VR is probably going to have some substrate as well for some of the text, some of the time. In other words, if you’re reading a paragraph, you probably want it to be framed on a rectangle with a clear background. The whole see through improv space is great in a movie, but not easy to read. But of course, we don’t want to be constrained to this. So if we could start trying to design somehow a TED Nelson style environment where your primary reading is actually a normal rectangle. But when you want to, you know, all the citations are lines. Obviously, if you want to have it as an outline, you could pull that to the side. Maybe if you want to view it in a different way, you can do that or only say this, that and the other. But to get to a point where we can start doing this, I think would be interesting. I don’t know what’s the feeling in the room.
Mark Andreson: Well, I have I have a thought that also links back to Brandel sort a good description of this issue of, you know, physical distancing and things, is that so? Yes, I mean, obviously we need to be able to make texts. Essentially, I mean, in a very simplistic sense, readable, in other words, not completely lost in it, its saying. So one of the controls perhaps we need in that that will the need for which or the way in which we’ll use it will change as the technology improves is possibly a control that allows you to actually, you know, to effectively work around some of the limitations of physical distancing. I don’t know, maybe misunderstanding it. But in essence, one thing you probably need is is for your text, as well as a way to make it sit apart from its surrounding environment is a way to focus it. Because I made the point as it may, it may require a distance in a size that intuitively you wouldn’t expect. That’s that’s the important bit. So and once you know what it is, then then it will be. I imagine it was something quite easy to use.
Frode Hegland : But you can. You can. You can do that now in immersive. There are some apps that do this. Sorry for cutting you off of it, but it is a great experimental place where you know you have your screen, you move it back and forth. So a lot of those basic things are doable, but they’re not in our environment, of course, and you can’t do that easily in the in the Mozilla hubs. What you can do in Mozilla hubs is read. But you know, you walk up to the thing to read, but a certain distance, it is actually very, very readable. So your concern is it’s important, but it can be experiments TED with. But I’m wondering if we’re going to dream together, is this the kind of thing we want to dream on or do we want to go further or less further? Let’s pretend we’re going to have a big demo on the 9th of December. Is this the kind of thing we would show or what would we show just to help us? Like, I’m not saying you should if you
Alan Laidlaw : Don’t mind to take a step back and present an alternate, not an alternate specific idea, but just a. Um. Four thousand foot view for a moment. I watched recently this incredible YouTube junkie documentarian guy. Made a documentary called Line Goes Up, probably seen it in the Twitter cycles these days, really excellent job. What’s interesting is how it was so dense with information that it clearly could have been a book. And yet I would not have read the book. But I was able to watch in certain chunks and separate parts. This guy speaking these things, whether I agree with all his points or not, he did a great job of explaining how he thought anyway. And so it was like, That’s interesting. I would not have read the book, but for some reason it’s it’s easier. It’s lower threshold to watch this guy who’s just sitting at a desk the entire time. But I can, you know, he has some jokes. I could sense the intonation. That’s easier than text for this really hard material, right? Because he goes into some technical depth. And I’ve kind of been sitting with that and how and maybe what’s going on, what’s undeniable is that our ways of viewing media today are going to be completely different in five to 10 years. Right. It’s never going to track directly. So maybe in a VR world, this, this, this or are, you know? Maybe it’s not. Maybe we have the option to not have to just read the text, maybe it becomes more common to like, Oh, I’m hearing someone talking, but as I’m doing other stuff, if there’s something I need to focus on, it pops up into view, you know, a visual or something to bring the point home. Right? And so I can either be doing other things. Or maybe that graph that pops up is something I can actually play with. While while this this this book, if you will, is still going on. Or maybe I can interact with the book now, you know, and so. So rather than just the the rather than, here’s text. Let’s put let’s what is text and VR look like? I think that necessitates at least a brief moment of thinking about what is, what is and what is media like in this. Simulated experience, what is the best version of that? It’ll become trivial to do deep fakes and I’m sure trivial to do deep audio fakes so that. You could have a conversation with Neil deGrasse Tyson about whatever you know. So I’m just putting that down, there have no answers.
Brandel Zachernuk : You restate it. I agree with Alan. But I don’t see a tension. Can you just restate again? Sorry.
Frode Hegland : Oh, you’re asking me? Yeah, yeah, no, I’m thinking. But, you know, kind of combining far out with really immediate, I can imagine an environment where, you know, let’s channel our inner TED Nelson that doesn’t yeah, anyway. Not going to make a TED joke. But anyway, we have a normal document, a four or whatever. Pdf, whatever. It’s readable, never. And it’s nice like we can on a shared screen now, but then come across a situation and interact with it somehow. And it draws a line. And suddenly the document cites somewhere in the background, in the distance, wherever. You cannot choose to bring it forth or not. And then maybe you do some kind of an interaction where you. Somehow say I want to see everything the sights and all those documents are in a constellation. So you can then say, OK, I want to see it by the time the oldest hair, the newest hair, organized them by most. So suddenly now you’re in a situation, I think kind of a scenario. So you can do that to see things maybe park that somewhere, maybe put it back, but then you go back to this document and you’ve read the summary and it’s OK, you want to interact with the whole thing. So because we know some semantic information of the document, maybe you drag out the headings so you have a table of contents. Maybe you only want to see certain text. You put that here, you know, so you can keep reworking and reworking and get this incredible space. But you still have, as a base, a normal document because partly, I think it’s useful to still have that, but also partly, I think it’s quite impressive as a demo. That you start with a real artifact, so to speak, and then you get richer and richer at a certain point, you’re not going to need this document. You just, you know, put it on the table or away. But you still have. Not only do you have all those documents stretched out to bring forth, you can say, OK, I want to see absolutely all the documents on the whole internet that I can do a search for that has this criteria. Then you have a million, you know, it goes and goes and goes, but it starts here. Does that answer your question?
Mark Andreson: Mark, I was just thinking you were saying that, I mean, to a certain extent, well, you know, as I mentioned before, I mean, I think we got to we have two things that will help us sort of bridge part of that in assembling such a demo, which is that we we have got to to hand a sort of basically a citation network that we know is fairly clean. So we can play with that. That’s one of the parts of the visualization you’re talking about because I’m thinking about rather than trying to eat the whole problem at once. Visual matter, I think we’re positing as the rapper for want of a better word as possibly transporting some of this from 2D space into our emotions. Richer space we have. Well, this stuff I did for my thesis and yours. So we have a couple of bits of quite large VMM, so we have some VMM to play with. Yeah. You know, I won’t pick all sorts of holes, but what I’m what I’m what I’m thinking is to sort of rather than sit around imagining what we might do is to actually do something so we can imagine if our imagination is even in the right ballpark. And they seem to be two things we could actually work with now in various ways. If if for nothing else is a stalking horse to say they’re rubbish, they don’t work and we need something else. I don’t think they quite will be. But I think it’s a quicker way to get to if we actually want to make a demo, figuring out what what’s really missing, what we don’t understand at all and what what we have. That’s probably good enough, at least for the purposes of a demo, so that we don’t, for instance, have to go build stuff we don’t need.
Brandel Zachernuk : Yeah, so I I think those are really valuable that that’s a good target. I mean, I think the question is to. For any given representation, what is that? What is the purpose? Why is somebody doing it? What do they get out of it? But but I think that there are answers to those questions that make it worthwhile to do to undertake that and sort of create that as a vision. I think one of the challenges that a lot of people face when they sort of create things like this. I haven’t read too much about the folks involved in Noda, but it sort of seems as though it’s possibly something that they’ve fallen prey to, as well as they have this, this vision. But it turns out to be more amorphous in terms of what the specific outcomes and goals they have are for, for for how this thing is supposed to sort of facilitate real work. And when somebody doesn’t have a problem, they can’t really come up with a solution. That’s that’s that’s that actually useful for them. I kind of feel like so.
Brandel Zachernuk : And that’s where people talk about that problem in search of a solution. And that’s a solution in search of a problem. And and it’s sort of stems from computer scientists and others just not experiencing problems acutely enough to be able to fixate on and focus on making a specific thing that actually solves those solve those problems properly. But I’m absolutely enamored of any opportunity to to do damage to the integrated vision of what a document constitutes per say I have. I have a very, very strong interest in sort of disintegrating data, disintegrating information. And as I’ve sort of let slide here, disintegrating the self because I think those two are related. But but yeah, I think I think I can help get this community to help disintegrate documents and what it is that they are, what a document is. That’ll be really exciting. And yeah, I’ve got I came up with a really interesting framing that I don’t think I’ve heard of before about what is meta information versus what is information that I think is useful to this point as well as well.
Frode Hegland : No, no. I want to hear that, please. Ok, so
Brandel Zachernuk : If you think about a cereal box. From all of the different perspectives of all of the different people who sort of interact with that cereal box, then you’ll get very different perspectives of what is the information about the cereal box versus what is the meta information or what is what is the pertinent content, I guess because because most people who eat cereal don’t consider it to be information after eating it. And so what’s relevant to a consumer is how much it costs and what the energy content is, how it tastes. But from the perspective of the people in the supermarket and everything else, maybe better information, the barcode, whatever but inside the supermarket. What is most important is the price, the volume it takes up and the barcode and its accessibility, whereas the people who produce it, the people who are responsible for the printing say what is information is the volume of what the cost of the design of the ink, the the specificity of the color and what’s necessary there. And that same way, you could talk about books and information in terms of like at a certain level, a lot of the people in that publishing the book don’t give a hoot about the actual textual content of it. What is what is the information about the book is the physical dimensions, the number of pages and who’s going to be running the job, the press, the press job, the day that it’s going through. And so visual media is an opportunity to be able to sidecar a lot of other information for other people for other reasons. And and it’s worth being sort of open minded about what what pieces of information actually should be shuttled through as a consequence of that recognition that different people actually more than simply thinking of it as meta information believe that the canonical and the the important information something manifestly different to what we’re consuming.
Frode Hegland : That makes perfect sense, and your previous comment about having a real problem also makes perfect sense, I said slightly in a depressed tone this weekend. I commented on our chat on Twitter about software. You know, I have such problems marketing myself where it’s really depressing. You all must use it. You know, if you’re on a Mac, if you don’t use it, it comes to your house. And I say, I don’t see the icons. We’ll have issues. I’ll give you three codes, obviously, if you don’t have it already anyway. Author and reader was developed to help one student write one paper for one teacher. Right, at least the clarity of the vision, was there no question with that question, with a lot of other things. But in terms of this, I think the TED Nelson view can also be. First of all, the reason I think we should do it is there’s real document. So we have data. We don’t have to go into an empty space and make the data, which is, I think the problem with China do a lot of TED own actual work is. Secondly, I think we can take the model of a university student trying to read the corpus within their field as an actual problem. So we then get the reading interactions and also at some point, the note taking into actions in the future, making a new document, so to speak. And finally, third point, I think Alan’s wild questions will become more and more relevant as we go into this because whereas we have to be artists and think weird thoughts like he is pushing it towards which I think is really good. I think at one point, as you know, when you move around quickly enough, you don’t see the arms, you just see the blur, right? I think that’s what might happen here, where we don’t see the document or the text. All we’re left with is the interactions on the trail, so to speak. So then we’re getting to a much more interesting and abstract space. But I honestly think we can only get there if we do the first one real information solving real problems. But Mark, or can we escape to Brandon and then you are you OK with that? His mumbling words. So, yes.
Brendan Langen: Um, I’ll try not to go too deep into this, but there are so many interesting things that are said there, so let me just like plant some markers and we can decide what we want to dive into. Brandel, I need to hear you talking more about disintegrating the self because as a problem space, that’s really interesting from the the VR perspective. So I need to hear that. But that can hold to the TED Nelson vision much of what you’re talking about. Sounds like some form of digital design, and it’s easy to jump there with the way that you were describing the lines and the connections and exclusions and such. Could be a worthwhile prototype to scope that out. Third thing. Are we familiar in this room with Bruce Sterling, the The Sci-Fi writer? I was circling through my notes as you were talking about the information versus information and the first time that I ever came across the visual metaphor. I wrote a note about spines and coming from, I believe, shaping things where he’s talking about artifacts, having different sources of information that can kind of appear in different contexts. I haven’t thought about that since then, but maybe it’s worthwhile to return to that idea for a prototype as well.
Frode Hegland : What more about that place?
Brendan Langen: So I suppose kind of. But yeah, continuing along with the idea of the cereal box, the cereal box, what goes into it, the information that it stores. It is. There are different components that are important to different people, so as Brandel was saying, you know, if you are a manufacturer or in production, you’re really curious about a whole host of different information that goes into that box. If you’re a consumer, if you are eating at home, there’s all sorts of different things. So an interesting prototype of that might be to recreate a few different contexts in which an item might be used or or looked at and have different information appear alongside that context. So if I’m eating at home and it’s 10pm, I could have a potential health warning that says should not be consuming cereal so late before bed. This is linked to type two diabetes in men of your age. Be mindful. Watch out now. This is kind of a ridiculous concept, but something evocative in the manner that resembles kind of how an item an artifact interacts within different contexts could be a useful form of VR, even if it’s just setting a standard for what might be able to be done. And I’ll put my hand down that.
Alan Laidlaw : I observe something and quickly. But Mark, you are in line.
Mark Andreson: Fire away.
Alan Laidlaw : All right. Yeah. Brendan, great point about the supply that also reminds me of. Somebody, Jay Gould. Spaniels. As an architectural concept that puts an emphasis on the absence of what’s created in the absence or around the architecture, it’s an interesting concept. It may wind up playing in later conversations about all this. But going going to the if we start with a baseline of like like if we were to say, Hey, you know what, we just agreed to it or actually someone just hired us to remake Xanadu for a demo by the end of the year, and it only has to be a snippet of it. Ok, so let’s assuming that was the case, that we were just hired to do that. My first pushback would be. In this new environment, I would want to re-examine. What I think has always been a hurdle for Xanadu in that it becomes a mess very quickly. So I’m not talking about what it connects to or anything philosophical. What I’d be interested in tinkering with would be like instead of lines. What if you could use colors to make association colors that are splayed in the background? You know something feels cool or something feels warmer? Are there ways to make associations where it doesn’t have to look like 2D or the material that we’re used to really just becomes the equivalent of like ants moving around? You know, like and we get to information overload, I think very quickly in text unless we’re a hyper intelligent electrode, you know? Yes, go ahead.
Frode Hegland : Sorry. Marc, I’m just diving in here. This is the frustration. This is my fear. This is that this is the opportunity as well. My background is as an artist, Chelsea School of Art, Painting, Photography, all of that stuff. I couldn’t code if it literally, you know, needed to be done to save my life. But and this is why I’m so reliant on everybody here, you know, Mark for data and Brandel for coding, Adam for coding. But also, we need to pay people to code. We need to find a way to do that because some of the coding here will be really boring because the things you’re talking about are absolutely crucial. They are existentialist crucial for our species. If we can’t get to the point where that yellow line buzzing behind you has meaning to us in the meeting, you couldn’t see it. But it actually means that your web search now has intersected with something else. A machine learning has figured out that your machine is about to overheat, whatever it might be, unless we can get to those levels of perception. We’re not going to be able to keep up. Elon Musk I admire him in many ways, but he is a complete effing idiot when it comes to this direct brain thing because we have developed this over quite a couple of billion years. All our senses, let’s use them. And I know watching Brandel Squire here, and I don’t think I’m contradicting anyone else. But if we don’t go into virtual reality, whether hands, whether AIS, whether sensors, whether touch with everything, then we’re losing these absolutely powerful things. And if all we tried to do is recreate a couple of rectangles. Obviously, a completely insane. So I think this discussion here, I think there is some kind of level of agreement for let’s get a couple of rectangles in there and then explode them. And then say, what happens and if Brandel if you have stuff that is boring to do, but you can describe how it should be done, you know, we can try to get someone to do it for you. You know, try all of us work together because. Yeah. Alan, you’re frustrating, but it’s important.
Alan Laidlaw : I know that’s what that’s what my S.O. says as well. Except except for the last part, there is a topic on another. I do want to come back around to something. That is, if anything, just an indication of how much we might be living in a self-induced mirage and framing problems, and I don’t mean us in this zoom. It goes all the way to Elon Musk. But there’s hands up so. Anyway, there’s the thing that I’d like to touch on about how we might be framing the problem.
Frode Hegland : Mark, do you want to go first?
Mark Andreson: I’ve got a couple. I got a couple of things that circle back slightly, so I’ll be brief, so I don’t sort of derail or we got to. It’s just a couple of things that came to mind as Brandel was talking earlier about sort of deconstructing documents. Another interesting thing that suddenly came to me. I was looking at some PDF stuff earlier today about accessibility and looking at what tagged PDF mean an interesting part of that. So one of the ways that they started dealing with accessibility in PDFs was, lo and behold, effectively put HTML dom structure in it. So far, so good. It’s just hardly any. Hardly any of the PDF tools actually do it. But I did manage to get I use Fox Pro, I think, to take my old thesis document and it’s done. It’s done all the text. It can’t do the tables and it can’t do the figures, but that’s quite interesting. So again, I may have something I can give a PDF where we can pull, you know, metadata like that. And it just made me think it’s about thinking, how do we, you know, how do we both use the data and create the data that we can then use knowing what we need to do with it? And the other quick thing is in terms of describing visual metaphors, a sort of wrapper for things is thinking what needs to affect be the right way to put it the first. The thing that effectively appears that the root object in the visual matter and what’s punted off to affect something you would do reference. Because obviously, the metadata itself can rapidly spiral beyond sort of usable amount and to a certain extent. So it’s not to put people off. We probably need to keep that quite light or quite light in the visible sense in terms of not very much, just lest it frightened frightened people.
Frode Hegland : More to think about. Well, OK, I’m just going to interject a little bit. I’m going to ask you a few questions Brandel, if you don’t mind. In order to do something along the lines of what I said, the whole person sets down normal document exposure to TED notes and stuff. What are some of the steps that must be done before we can start having fun in it? And what of that, if anything, can we outsource? I have a small amount of money that I can put towards this if someone’s competent and can help us. We should do that because it’s just stress inducing to not be able to implement.
Brandel Zachernuk : Yeah, no, I understand that. Well, so sort of concretely storyboarding something in terms of a set of actions and that script in the sense of like an orchestration of the of the steps and the goals and even the voiceover. I come from advertising. So the way that I tend to work is that people show me some cockamamie depiction of what they think there’s going to be achievable. And then we begin the long and arduous discussion of maybe trying to pull them back down to, if you can believe it, so. So that’s the mode that I’ve sort of worked in for the last 10 some years, and it’s pretty effective as a mechanism. So if that’s something that you have the personal capacity to do, you know you do that by just taking photos and drawing on top of them. You can do that by taking photos and then tracing them so that the actual photography is no longer present. That’s a pretty effective way of doing it. There’s a need to talk so many years ago about the way that any roller coaster designer or attraction designer for Disney worth their always storyboards with a bunch of mystery science theater 3000 style like audience heads in order to be able to kind of show their reactions, because that’s a critical aspect of the punctuation of what those experiences entail. And so to that end, I think it’s essential to have any virtual, reality based kind of storyboarding and hold hands or whatever the inputs happen to be. In the early days that it was, it was a single controller, initially three degree of freedom and then six. But now that we have a full hands, it’s pretty useful. But, you know, reflections and representations of facial responses, and I guess anything like that is as useful as a way of kind of anticipating what it is that a story might be sort of directed towards in terms of their actions. So I think you can get a great deal done simply by doing that. And, you know, I don’t know if there’s if you have a program of choice for drawing on top of video sequences, but that’s also a really sort of productive and generative context to be able to kind of work these things out. I I cited in so I posted about slum area this weekend. As you probably know, if anybody can see it, it’s they’re doing relatively well in terms of something perhaps sailing somewhat close to the window in terms of what what the beneficent company that happens to employ me might be comfortable with my doing has nothing to do with anything that it’s doing, but whatever.
Peter Wasilko: Actually, I think might. To continue. I want to touch on that when you’re done.
Brandel Zachernuk : Okay. As long as you want me to, then you’re having a job. And so, yeah, like it’s really super useful to to to draw on all of those things, but one of the things I mentioned was that Shell Games actually uses cardboard boxes and literally sort of duct tape and cardboard boxes to do prototyping as well. And so that, you know, don’t be afraid of doing that as a mechanism for being able to get a point for us thinking about the the attentional and physical ergonomics that that are attendant to a specific problem and solution space.
Alan Laidlaw : Thanks for that. Something out there as far as we have the, you know, the idea of a demo of like, Hey, how do we make this from nothing? But then maybe a different take is. It was already working on slow Mira, which is fantastic. What if there is? And just have patience, please? What if there’s some opportunity to explore something there now as an as a possible bridge, at least to give you guys a sense of how my brain unfortunately works? When I look at slow mirror, what it reminded me of is this time that I went driving through Baltimore to find this little, little forgotten music venue where I went inside and watched a kid sit on the ground of the stage and start to play music on a synthesizer. And then he would, as he played a line, he would hit a loop. And so that would move, and he started to play something else. And this was like early two thousands, right? But he was basically creating an orchestra of just himself, of simulations, automatons of him, and he could pop back into into one other mode. And it was beautiful. It was just I loved it and I was thinking, Wow, slow Mira could be like the visual version of that. Like, you could start doing things, change the pace, you know, move on to something else and then see what could what could happen from that one, multiple hands doing different things or running into a pattern. Now, if you applied that to some form of text or interface, what would that look like? Would that have any sort of relation to Xanadu, right where we’re in a sense you have a gestures performing a query or, you know, highlighting a text or reading something? Does that it? I’m almost thinking of the terms of performance art as a demo, but I leave stuff down for now.
Mark Andreson: I like I like just to quick to jump in and say, I like the thought that in a sense, that the hands might remain of a part of the text that you touched, especially in the context, he says, a performance thing. So in a sense, the lesson of but there are pointers. So you know, this is an axis or this is a part of it that I have already transformed just as a, you know, and that makes actually quite a subtle little trail of itself. Sorry, Brandel.
Brandel Zachernuk : Yeah, I definitely agree, and I agree that the one of the things that so I listen to Trevaskis speak a couple of times in the last time I was trying to ask her at the same question that I successfully asked you this time, which is about about drawing in and sort of a cumulative or a crate of complexity and whether it can be like the sort of cognitive cost that can be mitigated by observing its accretion, its accumulation. And and thankfully, this time she’s great. And so but you know, that’s that’s quintessentially what’s going on when somebody does those compositions in that way where they start with the baseline or a drumbeat or whatever, whatever they want to kind of lay down as the basis for it. And they add these things because you’re taking along on that journey, then you get to understand what it is. I feel like stop drawing dead fish is a reasonable enunciation of it. But I also think that, yeah, one can take much further with more expressive tools having twenty seven degrees of freedom per hand and being able to work with something that has a little bit more informational or semantic significance than than a specific fish. It’s like great fish. Animators worldwide will thank you for this very mediocre animation, so I think that you could use a better problem domain and you could come up with a better result. And and it would be a much more compelling kind of demo. But you know, for all, for all of the sort of the ugliness of the outcomes, I actually think it’s a brilliant talking and it’s inspired me for years. I just think looking back at what I know about marketing and what I know about problems myself, it could have framed those things vastly better than it did.
Frode Hegland : Interesting. This very sorry go on. Yeah, go ahead. Just while you’re talking, just want to show you how this is Joy Crookes, British singer The video with all the hands made me think of what you’re saying. That’s all. Let’s go on.
Alan Laidlaw : Um, I don’t know if it’s something, I guess the first question would be if that’s something you are absolutely not interested in Brandel. Then that would be good to know if you think that there is some opportunity there. Even if we don’t have a clear idea, it might. I don’t know, I think it could be. It would. It would be a constraint that could be a creative constraint. In that be jumping ahead from from nothing but. Yeah. Well, at the moment, it’s just a crazy idea. So.
Brandel Zachernuk : None of my none of my work is am I particularly committed to in terms of like in the same sense that I have this vested interest in disintegrating the self disintegrating information about all of the pieces of code, all of the projects that I have. They’re not, nor are they supposed to be particularly integral. So in terms of like, whether slow marriage can be that, I mean, in a sense, but only in a sort of efficient sense. My interest in building silverware is really to get to an infrastructural basis upon which I can build other experiences. And to that end. Absolutely no objection to to to being able to put together those kinds of timelines and things. And in fact, like something I thought would be really neat. Much like that. That video is a video game where you control either multiple like, imagine you had to make an entire scene out of hands. You had to pose your hands to be the flower. You have to pose your hand to be the giraffe and stuff like that. I think that would be really cool. You can either make them directly be those hands, or you could perform those things with something that is not anthropomorphic insofar as it doesn’t look like a hand but know you have. You have a clear sense of the meaning through which this is actually made of it.I made a video game like that for the motion back in, back in the early teens, which was sort of premised on that being difficult and frustrating, which is why they mostly didn’t want to publish it, but rather it was. Yeah, I think a really, really interesting in terms of having the the the modality be supported by such a direct and immediate one to one sort of feedback means that no matter how absurd and and uncomfortable the framing that I had for how to hold your face, one had the ability of that at some level after some sort of frustration to actually be able to pilot it.
Alan Laidlaw : Somehow that’s a body condition that we need to explore. Mm hmm.
Frode Hegland : I know for some, it’ll be shocking to hear that I did actually do some research for my PhD actual research with users. And the thing that came up was the biggest problem academics have is seeing connections. And that speaks to everything we’re doing, and this crazy notion just brought up now of, you know, leaving your hands in space. I could so easily, you know, imagine this start out with a rectangle, you start drawing lots of citations. Then when you find them like you dip your hand and wax, you know, you can leave it there because that shows this, you know, and then you know that that’s what that was. Or if you if you do that, you can then tap on it later, turn it into a giraffe or whatever it might be. But you know, you make things based on your gestures because the note of note will know the thing there is to make balls, connect them and to label them. But to what end? Yeah, right, so it’s wonderful for us to play with a little bit, and I find one of the problems I had is they tend to be too close to me. It’s just like I have to step back. Along with the scaling was an issue. So, you know, it goes all the way back to Marx and Brandel early point about where we kind of focus on this space. But yeah, this could be really special.
Peter Wasilko: I don’t remember where I wrote this. It could have been in the channel or not, but I think it was talking to Adam about it. But like in the. So I love I love diving into any of the particular new materials that seems to be presented to us with VR and gestures is one of them. Portals is another, right? What I would very much like to see a transition is one that I think is overlooked at the moment because it’s hard to wrap your head around because it’s in between the two things. But what I what I’d love to see is perhaps even mixing some of those. Right now you have a portal where you go into another space in the web world that is like going to another website, right? We already find that that is as wonderful as that as it becomes problematic because what you actually want is to to extract a little bit of information from without dedicating yourself to jumping into that new environment, right? So what if you could use hand gestures, for instance, I’m looking at a text or a topic of some kind, even if it’s video, and by looking down at the bottom, I’m indicating I want to zoom in. Tell me more in more detail about this, right? But maybe a gesture of like this, you know, says something totally different, like, I’m not interested in you telling me about or bringing me into the portal, bringing me into the event. Tell me what goes on before and after it inside of a larger feedback loop. You know, give me the systems thinker approach, right? So, so having weird intellectual models attached to gestures that you could then apply to a subject matter would be, I mean, just it’s bananas. But bring it out there for for fodder.
Frode Hegland : Us monkeys need bananas Alan. I have to jump in on two points on that. One of them is. What, honestly, there’s so many trains, this is like Paddington Station, one of them is the whole issue of ownership that we discussed different companies owned different apps. There are apps on here and it is a real problem. You know, I can’t even take anything useful with me from one space to another. That’s where I’m political with this. That has to be possible, but also. The transitions. Yeah, there was there was the ownership thing, but also the other thing of you’re basically OK, somebody I don’t know. Every once in a while a sitcom, we’ll have the line. Oh yeah, I explained it with improvisational dance. Something like that. Ha ha, right? We need improvisational dance to be language. There’s no question about that. Right, one, you know, in a restaurant, if you tell someone, you know, Oh, please come here. No, no, you need to go a little bit to the side. We humans have this just juiced up all the time completely think that that’s important. But once it goes with meal and data and air and all of that, we have to decide what it means. It’ll probably be more for humans in the beginning, but I think that’s really one of those. Tag transcript as interesting, but we’ve got to have real data, real data, ideally real data in, but at least real data out because otherwise I remember my ex-wife’s grandmother. She used to say that just overthinking something is mind masturbation. Right, not necessarily bad by itself, but if it doesn’t produce something. You know, then we’ve learned the experience and for us as pioneers or whatever, it’s great. But if it doesn’t address the problem like Brandel was talking about and it becomes really frustrating. But also in this whole thing, I think Brandel said, you know, given whoever of us would like to and I’m one who would like to try to mock up a storyboard. Absolutely do that. You know, we all know that the only time ever Doug made progress was when he did demos. So we’ve got to find different ways to demo first. We’ve got a demo to our own community and Brandel and Adam. Then we together have to see if we can tap into what a community that includes your crazy banana stuff, and it also includes documents, I think
Alan Laidlaw : I agree with the sentiment about the mental masturbation, but at times it actually you have to kind of be courageous in order to let yourself. Go those places, because I think that’s how you get to the dog eagle bar level, if he was purely pragmatic, he never would have.
Mark Andreson: What was called executive relief?
Frode Hegland : Oh, absolutely, Allan. And you know, I’ve quoted Doug recently saying that people said, Oh, you’re just a dreamer. And he says dreaming is hard work. Dreaming is hard work. There’s no question about that, and I’m really, really super happy about where you’re going. But I’m sorry for also bringing this other side up. I think it’s just me being a bit frustrated. We’ve got to go both ways. And you know, Alan, you?
Alan Laidlaw : Yeah, I’m not. Yeah, I’m not offended at all. Honestly, I I think navel gazing happens in our society way too much. Nfts are navel gazing should be called anyway. Never. That’s something else. Yeah, not a problem.
Frode Hegland : So I asked Bjorn to take what he wrote in the email thread and put it in an article for our journal. I think one of the things that our journal has to do is not to be precious. All right. I really can’t have Marc Anderson read my articles for the journal, and I say that because Mark is a fantastic academic. He will look at all the sentences. But I really think it’s super important that Alan, some of the stuff you just said you will feel free to write down. And let’s say for fun, don’t capitalize the beginning of a sentence. Make it really sketchy. And maybe we even find a section in the journal. Com Book that is notes and thoughts, maybe add some line breaks to make it look like poetry, I don’t know. But here we are. But because we’re trying to make a new medium of communication in VR, doing all kinds of stuff, presenting in new ways, we should also invent backwards. We should not allow the paper page to be to have any tyranny over what we present on it.
Peter Wasilko: Well, to be honest, I use these conversations to air out ideas that were existing for pre word. This is my first, you know, most of our first stage, like, I haven’t had the thought before it came up after you said something or Mark said something, you know, and then it becomes more cultivated immediately after. But it’s nice to have a space already where it’s like, Hey. Here’s a crazy thought. It’s crazy because it’s coming out of my mouth. Here’s the responses. That’s interesting. I can I can edit and adapt
Frode Hegland : Because one of the one of the problems we have with a new VR environments as we can’t really record what happens inside them. So if we have a meeting in horizons, work room or whatever, it’s all super cool, but we don’t have this transcript. Hmm.
Mark Andreson: Well, we know it has to finish, yes, hence
Alan Laidlaw : The decomposition is is different than disintegration, but decomposition, the decomposed form of a higher dimensional experience is a very hard problem, right? Because it’s not accurate to say decompose you are, you’re extracting useful minerals from whatever it was, the living, breathing VR encounter and then wanting to turn that into something like if it’s going to go all the way to a PDF or some article that you’re going to read, there is no process except for brute force to translate it. But yeah, that’s that’s a that’s a very interesting set of problems.
Frode Hegland : Yeah. So we now have. So this particular call had some very specific cool bits that can benefit other people. And a few hours we’ll have the video up and the automatic transcript will be up on the website. I’ll also put it onto the PDF. But going forward, what should there be a good mechanism for us to refer to these things? I guess we can just site it. I guess that once I gave you the PDF today or tomorrow, then the thoughts that you had, particularly Alan, just to pick on you a little bit longer. You can write a fresh article, but you can also say issue number one of the journal page so and so is when we discuss an aspect, we’ll try to make actual links. But even if we just had descriptions of where to find it, it is a step towards having some kind of a threat, right?
Alan Laidlaw : Well, this is what we need to have a conversation, maybe outside of these to the weekly, but or maybe we just need to dedicate a weekly went to it. This is already very confusing to me between for What’s The Journal versus what’s the newsletter because I assume that the journal was essentially going to be transcript. Now it sounds like it’s more which is really interesting, but in the journal, I was going to take a more like broad view of like, here’s some top level ideas. Here’s here’s what’s going on in the world. Here’s you know, and I was assuming that’s what was wanted, but it just fine with any direction. Well, I’m still going to write stuff on my own anyway, right? But it would be good to get more explicit about what what’s going to be the best, what’s going to solve the best problems.
Frode Hegland : My personal perspective is that the newsletter is literally a piece of paper that goes through the letter box with cool things happening. And it includes links to the Journal Journal will have longer articles that are expected to be read in a year or 10 years. However, if you have something you say externally or yourself that you want to make ten pages in the newsletter, nothing wrong with that. What we can do for the month afterwards and the journal is take the whole gosh darn newsletter into it if we want to. I don’t I don’t think we should have artificial constraints, we should feel it out, duplicate a little bit of spine because at the end of the year, it would be really good to have a book. That has a lot of this we can trace through, here are some statements we made. These are the articles. There is lots and lots and lots of transcript that probably no one will ever read, but it’s there for searches. And imagine after a year of this going into this environment that we’re hoping to build with this book in PDF form. Right, and we’re going to learn all these augmentations of the year, how to mark it up, how to do these things. We can have an absolutely insanely cool and useful demo of a student going into this world, picking up this particular tome of work and having a very, very rich, fluid experience of how to decompose the book and mentally also at some point Brandel themselves, which I think is a very provocative phrase and very, very interesting indeed.
Alan Laidlaw : Can I throw one wrench in there before I just leave and like, do an Irish goodbye? Sounds like a job. Sounds like yes. Thank you. Yes. I think maybe instead of taking the aspect of the student who’s trying to get something done and assuming that’s the persona of the demo, I’m going to suggest the totally different freaking wild ride alternative, which is something along the lines of as we may read, and it’s not it’s not a student trying to get something done. It’s just like really addressing what could reading be like in VR? And and it doesn’t have to be real data. It could just be a, you know, a play, whatever, right? There could be some sense of non linearity like you’re not just reading a book like, let’s really challenge what that’s like, you know, and it doesn’t have to be a student. It could be literally someone who sat down and put on a mask and wants to.
Frode Hegland : Yeah. I’m holding you by your hair, so you can’t log out.
Peter Wasilko: Yes, that could be
Frode Hegland : The other half of it should be authoring. Reading and writing is interconnected. But yes, just make it, but it doesn’t have to be a student, but yes, you know, how can you make an amazing reading experience of this year’s worth of of dialogue with these people who ended up just discussing more of what they’re discussing? And it’s very recursive.
Mark Andreson: Because another interesting thing, though, that’s been brought to focus for me looking at I’ve seen some original journalist stuff. I mean, one of the difficult things is going to be using a blogging platform, which is not designed to have an index that is not designed for really showing you anything with the most recent stuff and using it for what the journal needs to do. Because one of the first things I found when I was asked to do stuff, I said, Well, you know, where are the pages where I need to do stuff? It’s a blog you just, you know, you pick the thing off the top. So there’s a challenge there. I mean, that’s not a negative observation, but there is a challenge in that. But I sort of envisage the the journal in its broad form being something of a may long show. It will have, you know, it will have the transcripts, it’ll have the video recordings, it will have some things that are quite polished documents. I mean, I certainly don’t think I’ve offered to edit anything. I needed some. I gave some comments on some things that just didn’t make sense when it got sent to me. But that’s nothing to do with, you know, that’s that’s quite different from writing a fake to an opinion piece and that can sit there. And one of the useful things that I see out of if if we embrace that, that aspect of the journal is that out of that broad mass things will come because apart from the else, people will start to make reflections on earlier points. And then we get something really interesting. We get a piece that may be able to be used more broadly, but we can also track it back into the, you know, very dug style. We say no, look, and this is where it came from. And I think that’s quite important. So these these are not then connections for connection sake. They’re actually, you know, we’re actually tracking the emergence of this. And and that’s useful, too, because if it transpires that you know, something interesting comes up but actually is sort of slightly misconceived or slightly wrong, we can sort of track back down the line. Okay. So where did it? Where did it actually depart from, where we think it should have gone? So I think that’s where the. That central mass of the journal without sort of holding it too tightly serves to force it into a particular shape, which I think makes would make it hard to do is to say, as I say, I think it’s the central skeleton on which we can hang quite a variety of things that will vary quite a bit in their sort of size and shape. And that doesn’t matter because effectively the point of them being there is a reference about history to how we how we get to where we’re going. So it’s a gift, a gift to future selves.
Frode Hegland : Absolutely.
Mark Andreson: I’ve got a very quick one for Brandel because I’ve still been noodling well. We’ve been talking about this nice visual things about, again, about data, and that’s the fact that I know we’ve been talking about PDFs and things and having now discovered that while PDF have another structural flaw in them, perhaps another cheat we can do is take some some of the sort of PDFs, some some of the things we’ve already talked about, some documents we know well and actually re-imagine them in HTML. So that might actually involve literally rewriting the damn things. But that’s what it takes. I don’t care because I would have what it is to say that okay, with a PDF tools. Maybe a bit crap at the moment, but let’s imagine PDF tools actually made had a proper dom structure in them. Right, exactly. And and they were and that by and they were and they were making visual metaphor. So, you know, we can we can. I think I know I should never say it’s just an implementation thing, but so there are some structural things to do there. But if we if we just jump over those for the sake of getting towards a demo because it seems to me that until until we have some exemplars of that of that sort of nature. So you’ve got quite a structured document, you have some visual metaphor about it. It’s only at that point that we can really begin to say, is that something that’s that we can then use to make the sort of things we’ve been talking about, viewed from the more visual aspect of it? That’s that’s my sort of take. I mean, does that make sense?
Brandel Zachernuk : Yeah, absolutely. I think we can also make use of either fully automated or machine assisted visual inference from structure, you know, OCR is an amazing thing. Tesseract mostly does things in flat document, but one of the things that I made are very early on in my career was this gestural was in design to web page creator where you took and you took an accident text and then design a newspaper or a magazine, and you just drew the semantic references by just dragging like this is this is the heading for that. This is the illustration for that, because at that point, we didn’t have the wherewithal to make, you know, like I said, like eager guesses as to what those semantic relationships were. But but I think that it shouldn’t be impossible to come up with some assistive mechanism to even if, as you say, and that’s something we discovered at that time, because most Adobe products have PDF or some very narrow sort of backing them. And you realize that the semantically pretty garbage and that it’s kind of a free-for-all with regard to which is not to say that actually not Typekit the same thing. Like I said earlier, Facebook has broken the semantic representation for the benefit of making sure that screen reading systems are unable to block ads. So, so it’s something that, you know, that comes up time and time again, but not not specifically to do with PDF, but more to do with any kind of representational format that has had multiple masters for multiple sort of reasons over time. And so but it might be possible to make use of OCR or some other system to be able to kind of draw references to like what is this to that as well? So I applaud that as as an approach.
Mark Andreson: So I think another interesting bit comes out of it. We almost get for free, which, although it’s not directly related to the particular VR aspect, is just some of this transitional stuff that just just just actually laying bare how many broken bits there are or so PDF do. Well, the one thing they do work is they work as virtual paper at the end, one would probably argue against that. So if you want something that looks like paper on a screen, yes, it actually does that in spades. Pretty much anything else. Not so good. Completely not joined up across the piece. Not deliberately, but nonetheless. There’s no getting away from the fact that far too many things are broken. And I think, you know, just your point about, well, look, if we do something, we probably want to do it in a sort of a web construct, which takes us back to the use of HTML. And then so naturally, that thinks OK. So one of the structures you want is you want you want documents that are basically whether it’s visible or not, but within them have effectively a dom type structure, which is apart from something that’s been written as an art piece that has been deliberately transgressive with that linear notion.
Mark Andreson: So we have some of the bits there, they’re just not. None of them are in the right places that connects it up in the right way, the right tools. And I’ve managed to keep Adobe’s things off. My I have great respect for the tools they make, but I have kept them kept them off my system for a very long time because all the crap they bring with them. But I may yet have to because you know, so many things we sort of need. It’s a bit like the addressing into PDF has been there a long time, but I think Adobe Acrobat is the only thing that makes name destination. Still, unless you buy some incredibly insane, expensive enterprise and you’ve never heard of. I mean, I what I don’t understand there is whether there’s some secret sauce behind it. It’s too expensive to share or whether somebody just hasn’t had the nous to say, Gosh, if we, you know, if only we made. I mean, there are plenty of PDF tools here that are geared to do something. What?
Frode Hegland : Sorry.
Mark Andreson: Brandel point. So, yeah, OK.
Frode Hegland : No, go on. Go on.
Mark Andreson: You know, when we want to do this interrelation between things. So so this ability to do effectively deep linking into things that’s not possible at the moment. So in other words, I’ll start point three.
Frode Hegland : You can do it and offer.
Mark Andreson: No, no, I’m talking about PDF. What I’m saying is if you have a PDF, you can, and that’s one of the things that visual matter is doing. But I’m saying we have we have a vast trove of information for weather, just not possible at all. What you can’t do, I think, except in a day because you can’t take it, you can’t take a document, a PDF document and making an addressable bookmark to paragraph 14 on Page Six in it. That’s not possible. You can ask a web browser to open a PDF at Paper Sequential Page X, which won’t match the printed page number, which is another broken part of the system anyway. So that’s that’s one of the things I’m.
Frode Hegland : I just park it for a minute because Brandel has to go. Just a question for you. So, Brendan, you’re absolutely not going to go down Oculus because of matter, because it would be good to have it as a disposable device we learn on. And then once other things come out, we sell it to gamers. It would be good if you could be on air with us.
Brendan Langen: Yeah. What is the? So I looked into the other day, I kind of needed a two minute rundown of what accessories I needed hat would make this useful so I can understand what I’m getting at there. What would you guys say?
Brandel Zachernuk : Oh, Quest the standalone. So I don’t use it with anything else at this point. One of the things that the web socket thing that I’m excited about doing is is being able to log in with two devices, have an iPad and a request on time so that I can draw on the iPad, see them quote. But but beyond that, it’s not necessary. So Quest has obviously six degree of freedom and hand tracking it has. And those are cool because they buzz, and that’s that’s neat. You know, I’ve had a lot of fun controlling and there’s there’s actually a demo on 3G sort of haptics that that Takahiro released recently, and that’s very exciting, something I did in rocket game. So, yeah. To my knowledge, I mean, it’s got decent headphones. This is the sound in it as well. So I don’t think you need anything else other than a conviction to sort of take the plunge and accept that it’s it’s it’s the least worst thing to play with at this point.
Frode Hegland : I bought the small storage size because they’re all massive anyway. The only thing I would suggest is get the extra battery pack a little bit for the battery, but also for the balance. It’s better on your head. That’s it.
Brandel Zachernuk : Yeah, yeah, I agree.
Mark Andreson: And if you’re not wearing glasses, so if your contact lenses, you should be OK, you won’t be having the fun glasses wearers are having, but we’ve already covered that. But I mean, we don’t have the spacer. Yeah, the the reason I showed you the hand things is, I must say, when I look to the thing, I bought it. Nowhere was it really clear to the extent that I thought I might have to buy those separately. Again, it’s it’s assuming you know what you want, which is not good marketing, if I’m honest at all. You know, part of the sales, we know you get this, but you get all this cool stuff. And actually, I have been I’ve been in there all sorts of ways in which little handy things have have surprised me. Like like the little buzzy feedback and things and the way they, you know, they they they manage to interact and they sort of seem to come to the fore when you need them and of be out of the way when you do so, you know, which hasn’t happened, I’m sure, by accident. So that’s really cool.
Brendan Langen: That isn’t it? All right, well, thank you for the insights and yeah, as you noted, I see it and I was like, I go to the extra pigeons like, I have no idea what I need out of this full. Let me look at my research budget. I think there’s room for it. What any idea on the lead time is supply chain backed up for this at all or
Mark Andreson: Mine came within two days of cool. Cool? Yeah. The other thing is I didn’t work out how to join it with only an Oculus account. It will make every attempt at count to find find you on Facebook. I don’t have one, so at least that’s good. You’re ahead of the pack.
Brendan Langen: But yeah, I’ll check. I’ll check into it. I do have to run now, but but yeah, I will look into that. I’ll see you guys on Friday. I believe they’ll be here.
Frode Hegland : Look forward to it. By Mark just before Brandel continues with the reply on PDF. I did. I have done some research on PDF because of author and my PhD. And the thing is, you can do a ton in PDF in terms of structuring it if you want to. But as a developer, you have to decide what framework to go with. There’s PDF kit and all kinds of different things, which gives you they have different costs, different tastes, different all of that different affordances when it comes to links within what we have from author to reader, as you know, any heading can be a target. Yeah. So that’s, you know, an internal link that’s quite easy to do. Other things. It also comes down to the interface of how you want the user to be able to indicate that something is an anchor, so to speak. Mm hmm. So that’s part of it. But don’t forget, the structure is so bad that Adobe themselves had to make something they called liquid, something which is the machine learning to even get the basic structure of PDF. So that’s why we’re so excited by having liquid, not liquid, excuse me, live text on top. I mean, I know names, in fact, meaning that way,
Mark Andreson: Because I did some in a moment of madness got back in the 90s. I actually did some certification on Adobe PDF stuff and got quite deep into them. One of the things I remember is, you know, the thing that’s been around hiding in plain sight for ages has been named destinations by not just a page number, but effectively the equivalent of headings. You know, I mean, I was sort of an equivalent of, you know, the URL with a hash mark and something afterwards. It’s long been supposedly available, but but I think acrobats about the only tool that does it. And even then you have sort of dig into the back end, which is which is an absolute tragedy because, you know, had people been encouraged to use it from the get go, then all the all the MeToo tools would have adopted it. And whereas it’s I think it languished in the sort of in the that’s an enterprise feature, I think he’ll find, you know, which is which is a tragedy because we, you know, it goes against the very sort of linkage that we’re trying to do. So that’s why it’s in my mind
Frode Hegland : A huge problem here is academia doesn’t like high resolution thinking. You know, I had several things built into earlier versions. And then my advisor, obviously, you know, have less said, you know, students are supposed to have read the whole document and they’re supposed to cite the document as a whole rather than a specific sentence or take that nonsense out. But then I’m sure that if different kinds of academia that have different levels of this, but it is an important and valid point that it
Mark Andreson: Shouldn’t do a different things. I mean, you know, you’re right. I mean, students should read the thing, but they never have, and they never will. So we may as well recognizes.
Frode Hegland : Yeah, but what I mean is, and this goes back to Brandel question earlier on kind of the actual problem. In this case, a student writing for a teacher is different from an academic writing for their peers. It’s not the same thing I’ve always been focused on student teacher because I had to simplify student teacher, this point is valid if you’re writing for your peers. Please have a high resolution like.
Mark Andreson: Well, more to the point if you’re just writing for future self, I mean, if you’re writing for the world at large. There are so many things. I think one of the things I’ve really learnt in the last couple of years is that anything you make, if you wanted to have some legs, you actually need to understand that it’s probably one of the few ways it’s going to be. Read is in the form of a better digital paper. You know, it’s going to be read as a plane. It’s going to be consumed in a plain text form by machine language. It’s going to be all sorts of remediation will happen to it. And if you if now you’re writing in tools that don’t allow for that, well, then you’re just shooting yourself in the first. The frustration is I haven’t found the tools. I mean, you know, the things you’ve done with also and read it, for instance, are a very strong step in that direction and go and we and we and we need even more. And so one of the things is sort of surfacing all these breakage points because a we have to never get across them. And B, it’s an opportunity to sort of leave people who are, you know, people who are thinking, what’s something I can do? Well, there are a lot of things that people could do actually in address and frankly make money off if that’s what they want to do. And I’m not saying that’s not my draw in doing it. But again, you know, when one could actually just get people wound up to fix some of these current breakages because those are the problems they create, it’s certainly not going to go away.
Brandel Zachernuk : The problem with the PDF is the problem of the cereal box that I mentioned earlier and that that a number of other people sort of piled on to the to the value chain of what is sort of been transported through PDF after a time that the sort of the format was settled on and and rolled into this sort of application of that and the that bloat, you know, if you never thought semantic thinking was work was important because you were always sort of focused on this being a preprint thing, then the idea that that needs to be sort of retained as a component semantically as well as visually is utterly ludicrous. The idea that anything other than the visual hints for the purposes of preprints are absolutely absurd. And that’s made more complicated by the fact that if you have a company like you say with with with financial interests and a desire to sort of lock people into the system, then you do kind of need to make it difficult and complicated. Another objection that I have to victor and is like, is these interfaces are better. Like, Yeah, man, but better for a home. And if it’s better for consumers, then that’s cool. But if it’s worse for the person who is providing the interface and what impetus? What motivation do you have for making sure that they’re going to be able to sign on to it? What what makes you think they’re going to cede the ground of having this intense security interface that actually sort of benefits their bottom line? If you can’t see your way to that, then this is a pipe dream. So there’s a combination of of sort of agglomeration of multiple kind of requirements and needs of recognition of entirely new domains of application, which, you know, any document or interface is is going to sort of party to an HTML is no no slouch there in terms of people discovering new needs and people having to bolt them on and bring the format limping into the 21st century.
Brandel Zachernuk : So, so but the benefit is, is that because it’s sort of negotiated and arbitrated and argued over in public and it’s sort of as a result and a recognition that there’s a need to keep everybody honest because if I have to do it, then like if that, then at least Microsoft has to do it and do it in approximately the same way. And that’s the benefit of the W3C as an arbitration panel for making sure that if anybody discovers something that they spend at least six months or two years required in order to figure out what is the least worst thing and how can we make sure Google doesn’t screw it up, which is, you know, just quietly, quite quite a lot of our internal discussions. It’s like, how how explicitly do we need to put this in order to make sure that Google won’t try to turn it into a format that is technically open, but only available to an elite cabal of people who have all of the right tools in exactly the right way. My personal preference is to be able to write everything in the text there and kind of keep it that way. So, yeah, like so you know, in terms of my lambasting PDF, it’s by no means like to do with it as like it alone, they’re dangerous and there are challenges that the all formats face.
Mark Andreson: And that’s why it’s very interesting to understand, you know, try and do stuff to make things sense data for you to play with. I mean, one of the things I want to try and do is therefore would probably do it with some open source things, simply so that we’re that we don’t find that way. It all works, except one bit in the middle is is entirely dependent on a black box and we don’t understand and don’t control. So I’d rather do more work around the sides. And I imagine something like Paddock Springs to mind as the sort of Swiss Army knife of some text transforms that might allow us to do things in an acceptable demo style where you say, Well, look, this isn’t really how you want it to be, but you know, we’ve managed to get so you have this stage sort of rough bit here at this stage, rough bit here at this stage, but you can see the whole and you can, and that helps you understand the value proposition and the end point. You know, because on one level, you know, a really good demo stands because it’s just awesome to see. But then as you walk out the room, you say, OK, yeah, that was really cool, but what do I do with it? Hopefully that’s when the the structure that lies underneath and I think that’s, you know, in fairness, you know, when people talk about the mother of all demos, said God, it was awesome to see. But when you see people writing about it, but they invented this and they did this and it had this, that, you know, and no one resonance, no one necessarily knew what half those things were at the time. They may be, you know, but they were done and they were necessary. And I’m sure they weren’t done by accident. And I mean, they weren’t done just to make the damn demo work. They were done with intent. And I think that’s a really fascinating thing. I take away from that, that that example.
Frode Hegland : The questions you post there, Brandel about something, how something gets adopted is really important and. It’s really it really easy to ignore because they’re so uncomfortable, but they are, of course, the most important. So this is why I’ve been really, really, really stressing on trying to communicate the benefits of the aspect I work on visual. And it’s really hard and it has to be. I mean, I know that twice. Vint Cerf has emailed Tim Cook about this stuff. Right, and clearly hasn’t worked. And, you know, I’m trying to get to the point where we get the overall package, not just visual matter, but particularly the whole VR for work thing. Communicate, it is really, really hard in a way that does satisfy and bring on board the different stakeholders.
Mark Andreson: Just a quick thought and thinking to what’s just been discussed in W three C is visual metaphor at a point where it’s worth sticking its toes into the whole sort of web standards thing, if only to have some visibility.
Frode Hegland : So and in two weeks, Bent and I are presenting it nicely to the National Institute of Standards Organization in America. Yep, visual meta. We have it was supposed to be a five minute lightning talk, and then they realized it was my partner and suddenly we have half an hour. So that was really nice. So we did a recorded session last week, which is the cleanest we’ve ever done a visual metaphor, and this is why it’s been so important for me to fight in a nice way with Bent about virtual reality, because before this, it was just like, no, and I was like, Hmm. You know, that’s a big step. So I am hoping and I do know some of the directors there, I do hope to make visual Mehta an actual standard. Not that it’ll be adopted by being a standard, but this is something we in the community need to make a standard. And I don’t want to make visual math at one point two or whatever you might call it, without having gone in and out of VR successfully. I think that the added appendix of saying these are where all the things are, we have to find a way to note that down. So I think it’s a very nice thought mark, and that’s where we are. But it has to be community made.
Mark Andreson: Yeah, because the reason I was thinking of it is because otherwise what I can see, what’ll happen is it’ll get to the sort of front gate and the usual. There’ll be the usual crowd of Typekit, as will Assemble said, Oh, we’ve got some alphabet soup name that already does that, which it actually well, it does in theory, but not in practice, not possibly to much effect. So it’s really as much as sort of giving it. When you need to come back in force, so we told you all this.
Frode Hegland : Yes, I hear you and I do agree. So that’s good news. Yeah, on the on the issue of getting people aligned. We do have to really take it very seriously who who we shall augment first. Mm-hmm. And I’ve been I think I’ve been OK, but slightly lazy. We’re talking about a university student. It may not be the right user group. You know, let’s pretend we’re having a meeting with Tim Cook tomorrow. If we were to do that, the target user group would probably have to be, first of all, someone who buys mikes. Right, that narrows it down a little bit. It also has to have a very strong consumer angle, so it has to be a little bit of office, a little bit of students rights. And when it comes to getting one of the things that Levy Apollonia told me when when I interviewed her for my PhD, she said the work that I’m doing with author and reader is to try to get people like me as a more artistic minded people into academia, which she said it’s not going to work because people who already know how to do academia, they don’t need the tools anyway. And the people who don’t, they’re probably not going to make it anyway. So she said it in the worst possible way, but she does have a point. You know, so what are we actually augmenting here how actually changing people’s lives, it’s really, really difficult because even if you look it up for so many of the innovations Apple bring out, never get used, right? And obviously, all the other big companies do so to really hit the golden nail on the head and introduce an interaction that helps people think in a way that they understand that they’re being helped.
Mark Andreson: Well, it’s interesting. You mention the sort of consumer angle because in a sense, I think that’s one of the ways where certainly some of the Apple Tech is just sort of sailed through the national barriers because it’s this sort of thing that by by the by the time they they’ve got around to saying, I don’t want it. They realize they do, actually. So it’s half of this thing is finding a way to slip things past that point where people are saying, No, no, no, no, no, they don’t know why, but they just know they don’t want it. And then they suddenly find they do because actually it’s answering something they need. So I guess the way you peel back that question is, is is is back to that thing of sort of need, which is slightly divorced from the sort of, you know, coming out from school or having been told you’ve been trained with computers, which actually means you can, you know, open word. But actually, since know, you know, my documents, my information, my understanding of my timeline. And funnily enough, an augmented space is actually quite interesting in that because it it puts a squarely in another coming area of in terms of personal data. And many are arguing, well, in fact, we should have some, some ownership or and therefore some understanding of our personal data. And I bet my bottom dollar that most people will probably find that easy to understand in some sort of an augmented space, rather than as a report on a teeny bit of paper. I have nothing to back that up. That’s just a strong feeling in terms of all the crap I’ve seen in the past.
Frode Hegland : But the thing is, it’s such an almost intractable problem. Look at our prime minister here. You know, he is currently having problems because he didn’t know whether he went to his own birthday party. But it’s absolutely insane.
Brandel Zachernuk : Happens to all of us.
Frode Hegland : But then, you know, the issue comes. People will be what they do, right? I’m not trying to be philosophical here, but if you are a really good leader, you’re really good at leading. You’re not good at, you know, whatever else it might be. My father was successful in business. He happened to be in shipping, you know, supertankers, oil and all that stuff. He didn’t know anything about ships. You know, he would be the worst engineers trying to fix an engine on the ship. And that’s really, really important because if you look at the supervisor, not supervisor Brandel Marconi, the head of our department, at least used to be she is absolutely fantastic as a politician. You know, she’s an academic politician. She I’ve seen her computer desktop for Mac. It’s a mess. You know, even though she had developed some key concepts back in the day, she’s almost computer illiterate with current machines.
Mark Andreson: Well, that’s because if you go into that, once you go into the realm of having a PA, I don’t think it’s all much of the noise in life. Well, appears to be somebody else’s problem, the source.
Frode Hegland : I don’t think it’s someone else’s problem issue. I don’t think it’s a PR issue. I think it is. The thing you do is what you understand. So that is really difficult if we are going to try to augment management type people. They don’t care about being augmented by learning new tools because they’re not computer nerds, according to their language. They are managers or people, persons or whatever. So to actually find a way, we can solve a problem for a good user group that they appreciate is really a super tricky issue, and we may need to spend more quality time.
Mark Andreson: But today, my experience, you know, actually sort of fixing stuff, you know, sort of core core operating stuff is definitely. I mean, yes, you should ask people, but listen quite carefully. Don’t don’t do what they are given, not what they ask for, but what they need. So you have what you have to do is you have to ask them and then and then listen to what they describe because they’ll describe it badly. They will misunderstand what gets it right fix.
Frode Hegland : I think we’re talking a little bit past each other.
Brandel Zachernuk : I’d love to jump in with the rationale for my tweet. So, you know, I really like that prompt of like, what would you tell to cook? Not because I will, but because because it’s a useful thing to think about in terms of consumer benefit and the thing that visual media provides is just the slightest bit more context about provenance and the relationship of a piece of text to some kind of origin. And what Tom, who is actually he was my tutor in university, so it was a lot of fun talking to him. What Thomas post there is old enough to remember when the internet was more than four websites with screenshots of the other three. And one of the things that comes about as a consequence of capital accumulation and all that kind of stuff, but also just that the the the gap of information and context about provenance and what’s true and about what kinds of signals people need to look for in order to make sure that they understand these things are true. And I think visual media hits all of those points.
Brandel Zachernuk : So from a from a misinformation perspective, making it possible to make tools that allow affordances to identify what is true, where should I look? What kinds of signs need to would mean that something is true? Now you talk about you see people like Mike Caulfield, really, really great information literacy researcher on the internet and educator. And one of the things that he has is this kind of method for kind of figuring out what what’s true, where things come from, but what it means you would expect to see on these other places and stuff like that. If you can render those kinds of activities reflexive, mechanical and or possibly even to whatever that can be automatic, then you have improved the literacy of the entire population in ways that I think should be clear, matter to us in both domestic and political in all kinds of walks of life. So that’s the way that I would take. And if that’s useful as as a jumping off point for how you would approach that kind of demonstration, I think that they are all related.
Frode Hegland : I love that I’m just writing a note. I mean, so are we talking then about academia or does that sound dry or are we talking about scientific literature or what? What is the framing of this?
Mark Andreson: I’m not sure that I think back to this thing of actually I rattle around my brain was when you were saying, Well, you know, one of the things that say Apple as a company is a technology company has done so has actually quite consistently sort of managed to produce things that, despite all the naysayers, have have actually had a what to the wider community in a sense. So, you know, you were saying, yeah, it’s difficult to it’s difficult change to managers. But actually, at the end of the day, the managers will by and large do whatever the person that pays them wants them to do is reality. So in a sense, this this thing of speaking to the guest, getting to broad the broader audience who actually, you know, are sort of even if they don’t, they don’t know how to express it or already in this pinch point where they there is a sort of information. And as Brandel TED, you know, one of the again, one of the nice affordances just hiding in plain sight there in the concept of the visual metaphor is a sort of central conduit because if you just take all the individual things. So there are a whole bunch of people working on provenance of blockchain, but you know that if they were left, if they were left to do the actual solution to that, you would not get something you just wouldn’t want to interact with. Whereas if you take it the other way round, you said No, no. But here is the sort of central spine that can connect these parts in a way that’s not not cumbersome. Yeah, it works within which works within effectively. Where in the loose sense or internet connectivity, I think that’s actually quite powerful angle to take rather than necessarily trying to get go for a particular small group.
Frode Hegland : But in terms of running out of time, and I think that’s a fair point. Let’s do this. Pretend we’re going to talk to Tim Cook tomorrow morning thing. The issue with Apple now, especially with things like the M1 chip and all of that stuff, they have some incredibly high, high tech. So, you know, even if the consumer benefit was clear and everything you walk in there say like, well, Apple will need some absolutely amazing mind blowing on stage demo of how insanely powerful something can be. You know, and you know, I think that there’s, you know, why would they do something this simple? I mean, if all other major companies in the world did it there probably slide it in as a feature without mentioning it, but it wouldn’t have. It has no wow factor appeal for these guys, any of these guys. So so that’s also why I’m wondering how if we now can manage to to make it super easy to do the authoring, which we kind of already have. And then wow, in VR, with this basic stuff, you can do these incredible interactions. It’s yet another example of Brandel working on his work with our support and then the rest of the company sees it, and they say, Well, this has to be the future of work when this is just a tiny component of it.
Mark Andreson: It’s also interesting that when you say, well, what’s the demo, I’m waiting for the company, it has the 1984 moment where the demo doesn’t involve someone saying, Hey, let’s meet for coffee later and review the results of north, south and east west divisions last quarter. Thing because that is not life mark.
Frode Hegland : That’s what that’s most of the discussion today, isn’t it? We’re going to try to.
Mark Andreson: Yeah, exactly.
Frode Hegland : So and it’ll be it’ll be based on starting with a document exploding stuff and saying how that can help you think and see connections and coming back out. But it’s all pretty amazing. And now it’s five minutes and I can hear the family getting a bit grouchy in the background. I thank you immensely. This is the last one of issue one of our journal. Any last words for the last transcript?
Brandel Zachernuk : I’m very excited about being able to promote a mundane vision for spatial computing, I think, as you say, for for various reasons. Most of the time these kind of vision documents are propaganda to the C-suite, the executive sort of Google that said at the top of the organization or what the marketers and the visionaries imagined they might be thinking about in order to appeal to them. And the problem that attended the the Newton and other products prior to that was that they were the imaginings of executives and high powered people that other cool, high powered people might be able to make use of them. What turned out that they were useful, but not to the people that they thought were cool and interesting? They were desperately disappointed. So that goes back to Xerox Parc that goes back to expensive typewriter if you’ve ever heard that story. You know it was. It was. It was absolutely sacrilegious for people to imagine that a computer, the use of word processing. These were a big, important things, and secretaries and women essentially were the people who are supposed to be responsible for actual typesetting. So, you know, I think cutting all of that off at the outset and saying, what is the most mundane, most pedestrian use of this technology that is never less productive, creative, expressive is really important. Its target because it one sets the market that much larger. But but but two also means that we set up for disappointment. I thought it was going to be for all the cool friends. So, yeah, I applaud that. I’m really excited about about trying to approach it from that angle. And to that end, perhaps I can think that that level is is worthy as a case study, but not the primary kind of focus, simply because there are more people outside of than inside academia. But yeah, I mean, that’s not to say that you still need to have a point of view on a problem you really are solving. So so. However, that framing comes, comes together is still important and valuable. You can’t just say, I’m making note that
Mark Andreson: There’s no pattern because in the, you know, in the narrow context such that you can see the people make the argument well, if you if it’s not hard, you’re not doing it right because I had to do it. So you jolly well well. Whereas life doesn’t like it doesn’t or shouldn’t come without requirement.
Peter Wasilko: Hmm. Yeah.
Frode Hegland : Do we know how people write reports and companies and governments, do they just write long Google Docs that are never saved?
Mark Andreson: Because, you know, I mean that I don’t think that I don’t think many people, right, I don’t think many people very often write in it in a corporate environment with with sort of the intent of I’m writing. I’ve got to do a report for such and such. Let’s get the last one change of date. You know, put a new table in. It’s it’s often done with that degree of care. So unless you’re working in a field where you’re actually required to communicate, so maybe for a marketing role or something or a sales role. But but there you’re normally about pushing a version of the truth, not the truth. So that that is also tainted in some ways. But I certainly just just having the opportunity to sit in a ministry and just watch people go about their work. I wasn’t left yet. I wasn’t left with an impression. People were working and I don’t give the wrong impression. It’s not. They weren’t working or they weren’t doing good stuff. But I don’t I don’t think people really understood the tools they had, basically because they were never trained to show how to use them. But that’s not the same thing. They’re not. They’re not told what they might do. So, you know, even today, people aren’t using half the affordances they’re given. So I think that’s part, again, this is part of the thing of taking the money, the mundane low there, that’s not a chef’s hat, they’re like,
Frode Hegland : What did you say? Got a card from where
Peter Wasilko: You see New Zealand?
Frode Hegland : Oh, you can show the card. Oh, lovely. Wow. Well, Cop II, you’re helping mama making dinners. That way you’re wearing the chef’s hat, Wunderman. I’m going to come and help you in a minute. Ok, I’m done.
Mark Andreson: Oh man, we took some cheese at the meat dumpsite and I’ve set the table
Peter Wasilko: And and and and the plate. I’ve got the napkins on perfect. Estimated your opportunity.
Frode Hegland : See in a minute. Right? Ok. Yeah, thank you. Ok, so I think also we’re asking the right question, but also the wrong question and the right question would be also, who do we have to augment first if we’re going to save the planet? Who do we have to augment first doesn’t mean a category of person, maybe a category of action. And a lot of it will be considered both magical and mundane. There’s no question about that. Yeah.
Mark Andreson: I would argue one thing I would say is perhaps it might not. I wonder about phrasing the question like that, because that gets you into sometimes actually having to overhype the nature or one gets into difficult areas of of the sort of
Brandel Zachernuk : Of
Mark Andreson: What’s worth more than something else. I actually think you go back to Brandel undertaking. Just elevating the mundane to something more useful is a massive uplift to itself, and it’s probably easier to do. You know, in others, if you can do it quietly in the corner of a busy room, rather than doing it in the glare of public on a stage all its own. It may be easier to do because you’re not. You’re not constantly fighting off people who say, Well, why isn’t it this or why isn’t it that
Brandel Zachernuk : I’ve got one? Then doomscrolling, augmented doomscrolling, you know, doomscrolling is sort of, you know, the term that presumably most people are familiar with. But you know, just the sense of people kind of browsing consuming news feeds, be it traditional news, Google News, New York Times, whatever, or Twitter or Reddit, those kinds of things. But kind of going through glossing over various pieces of information, if you can look at how that can be nudged in various ways in order to recognize the sort of the broader context and sort of think about what fractional impulses an individual might have to actually look something up, construct a world view as a consequence of that that are stymied because of the material, affordances the absence of capacity to kind of act on those things. So if you potentially if one dreams grows, do scrolls oneself on occasion to to introspect on what are the inclinations that take you? What might you do if they were easier? Because those are that’s the stuff that you need to to to to work from is like, what is that people would do if they had the ability? Where can you kind of identify places to reduce the friction that’s attendant on on those particular sort of impulses and and work toward lessening those enough that people have the ability and interest to act on them?
Frode Hegland : I think that’s a perfect case study, because why do we do them all? It’s a bit to learn, but it’s also waste time and it’s a very personal thing. So I could easily immediately imagine just you have a normal scroll, even if you’re in VR, it’s not very big, you read. But as you get something interesting, you have this amazing space to drag into categories to see relationships. Let’s leave it on that. I think that’s a provocative thought that goes against everything we thought about, but then not at all. So I look forward to Friday and I thank you all. Well, I thank you both very much. All right. Bye.
Mark Andreson: Okay, bye.